Over the course of the year each CJFL team gives back to the community. Whether that is helping at local foodbanks, visiting hospitals and senior assisted living facilities to have tea or to clean up roadside garbage, teams and players alike love to give back.
During the past 12 months the Hamilton Hurricanes made giving back a major priority to the Steel City and were extremely active. They participated in over 50 events within the community, spanning close to 500 hours of volunteer time and over 85 players and coaches got involved.
The Hurricanes provided support to several community partner groups including Food4Kids. Each Wednesday the players assisted in packing over 1400 nutritious meals to provide school children in need.
They supported Hamilton’s “Out of the Cold,” providing food and clothing to those who do not have resources. They assisted in BBQ meals, clothing distribution and helped with fundraising initiatives for the non-profit.
CFL Hall of Fame running back and Hamilton legend Neil Lumsden is currently the Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament of Sport, Tourism and Culture and hosted a beach clean-up run that the Hurricanes supported. Over 40 players assisted with the “Around the Bay Road Race” that raised funds for St. Joseph’s Healthcare that is near and dear to Lumsden’s heart.
These are just a few of the examples of the Hurricanes giving back and they have already committed to assisting again in 2024.
"One of the initiatives Coach Barry Emo brought in this year was Community Involvement," says Mike Samuel, Hurricanes President and General Manager. "Coach Emo took the reigns and asked all players and Coaches to give back to their community. It was due to Coach Emo's initiative that we have received this prestigious award. He has instilled to the players that although we are here for football, giving back is now a huge part of the Hurricanes organization. Part of our mission statement is to develop future community leaders and this no doubt leads them down that path."
For their incredible involvement this year, the Hurricanes have been named the CJFL Rick Smoke Community Team Award winners for exemplary community service over the last 12 months.
The Hurricanes understand that community support is necessary to be successful on the field and off it. They also know that being contributing members of society means giving back and paying it forward. Without the support of the community, the Hurricanes do not have the opportunity to play the game of football. Building the Hurricanes culture is about building good humans as well as athletes. Their coaches, players, support staff, board members and volunteers are committed to the community, city, and province every day of the year.
About the Rick Smoke Award:
The Rick Smoke Memorial Volunteer Recognition Award is named for former CJFL Treasurer Rick Smoke, who passed away suddenly in 2013. Rick dedicated many years to junior football at the team and conference level, and over 25 years on the CJFL Executive as Treasurer. Junior football is successful because of the dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes. This award, to honour Rick’s memory, is a tribute to celebrate and recognize the volunteers, past and present.